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Beckett Game Notes: Wade, Danica, Market Numbers, Thorpe and the New Great One?

by Beckett Media
May 26, 2005

Closing the Gap on LeBron in a Flash

While LeBron James looked to be the clear cut fan favorite following the 2003 NBA Draft, he's nearly been caught in the eyes of collectors by the Flash. Dwyane Wade's Rookie Cards debuted well behind James in early-summer '03, but just as Wade has kicked it into high gear during his second NBA season, so have his cards. Here's a look at the values of the key RCs of James and Wade (both from 2003-04 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection, released in summer '04) as tracked by Beckett Basketball:

Aug. 2004 (cards debut shortly after James named ROY)
James $2,500
Wade $550

Nov. 2004 (tip-off of their second season)
James $2,700
Wade $1,000

Feb. 2005 (NBA All-Star Game)
James $2,700
Wade $1,400

July 2005
James $2,900
Wade $2,000

All Eyes on Danica at Indy

When the green flag drops at the 89th running of the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday, all eyes will be on Danica Patrick, who is trying to become the first female driver to win the race. Despite all the attention she's drawn recently, according to Beckett Racing, Patrick has yet to register with racing collectors. No cards featuring Patrick have been issued by any of the major card manufacturers. By contrast, Janet Guthrie, the first female driver at Indy, has had 10 cards issued since her Indy debut in 1977. The most valuable Guthrie card: a 1977-78 Grand Prix can be had for $1.50. A 1/8 die-cast replica of Patrick's Indy car can be found online in the $50 range.

By the Numbers

$243,599.99 - Sale price of a PSA 4 VG-EX 1914 Baltimore Orioles schedule card featuring Babe Ruth, according to the July Beckett Baseball.

$3,705 - Total price of all Tom Brady Rookie Cards in mint condition, according to the July Beckett Football.

$150-400 - Price a signed Barry Bonds baseball fetches, according to the July Beckett Baseball. That's down from $200-500 last month. "The drop is simply due to the fact that Bonds hasn't been on the field yet this year," says Beckett Baseball editor Mike Payne. "It's a case of out of sight, out of mind."

Thorpe Card Nets $8,000

According to the June edition of Beckett Football, a 2004 Greats of the Game Etched In Time Autographs Jim Thorpe card sold for $8,000. It is one of only seven unique Thorpe autographed cards in existence. This 1/1 card resides in a collection that now includes three of the seven Thorpe autograph cards. Jim Morgan, a Thorpe collector in California, snagged the card as soon as he laid eyes on it. "I saw it on eBay with a Buy It Now and bought it right away," Morgan says.

Is Crosby the New Great One?

Any hockey fan would love to have a card signed by the greatest player in history, Wayne Gretzky. Thanks to his agreement with Upper Deck, a California-based card manufacturer that inserts Gretzky autographs randomly into packs, one can be had for around $100.

Any hockey fan also would love to have a card signed by junior sensation Sidney Crosby. But even though the kid has never scored an NHL goal, it'll cost you a lot more to obtain his autograph than that of Gretzky. Recent sales for a card Crosby signed for Toronto-based In The Game have topped $500 and show no sign of slowing down.

The buying frenzy surrounding the card even caught the experts by surprise, says Beckett Hockey editor Al Muir.

"It's all fueled by supply and demand," Muir says. "Everybody wants a Gretzky autograph, but Wayne's always been a generous signer, so they're out there to be had. This is Sidney's first certified autograph card, and the demand is reflective of that scarcity and the hype he's generating with his exceptional promise. Still, when you see prices like that, you know that it's not just self-described collectors who are driving it up. Every fan wants to get in on the ground floor with that kid."

Crosby, currently participating in the Memorial Cup with the Rimouski Oceanic, was honored this week as the top player in the Canadian Hockey League. In claiming the prize, the 17-year-old winger became the first player in CHL history to win it twice -- both times before he was even eligible for the NHL draft. Past winners such as Brad Richards and Joe Sakic earned the award when they were 19, a year or two after being drafted.

Crosby's regular cards in the In The Game Heroes and Prospects set routinely sell for upwards of $40. By way of comparison, the cards from the same set of 2003 first overall pick Marc-Andre Fleury and Ontario Hockey League leading scorer Corey Perry can be had for about $3, while Hall of Famers like Rocket Richard, Bobby Orr and Jacques Plante are two bucks or less.

About Beckett Media
Based in Dallas, Beckett Media LP, an Apprise Media company, is the leading publisher of sports and specialty market collectible products in the U.S. Beckett operates Beckett.com (www.beckett.com), the leading online destination for sports collectible enthusiasts, and is the premier publisher of monthly sports collectibles magazines. Beckett, considered the world's most trusted source in collecting, currently publishes 14 magazines. Its flagship title is the popular Beckett Baseball magazine. The company also operates Beckett Grading Services, the award-winning third-party professional sports card grading service. The company was founded in 1984 by Dr. James Beckett.

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